One benefit of a virtual law practice that is not often discussed is the fact that a virtual law practice is much “greener” than a traditional law practice. Even as a sole practitioner, it has never ceased to amaze me how much paper we lawyers use. In a busy litigation year, I would easily consume 500 – 1,000 reams of papers, and that’s probably a conservative number. Much of this paper was wasted on drafts and duplicates that were ultimately discarded once a case was finished.
Because virtual lawyers utilize technologies that allow for electronic preparation, transfer and storage of documents, as opposed to hard copies in paper files or cardboard boxes, virtual lawyers typically use far less paper than traditional law offices do. Since I transitioned to a virtual practice, for example, I have cut my paper consumption by at least 85%. My virtual practice has also been able to reduce its reliance on multiple office machines, and I plan to recycle most of this equipment through eco-friendly services like the partnership between Costco and Gazelle to recycle various types of electronic equipment. For those of you who have virtual practices, or “nearly virtual,” I would be interested in hearing about your experiences in making your practices more eco-friendly.
On a personal note, we should also encourage large companies that provide services to lawyers to consider their effect on the environment. For example, I recently received an unsolicited package from Law.com. As an instructor, I often receive copies of newly-published texts from legal publishers as promotional materials, which is what I initially thought I had received. Wrong! I opened the package to discover that it was nothing more than unsolicited junk marketing.
Because a picture is worth a thousand words, I will end by simply posting the above photo showing the “non-eco-friendly” junk I received from Law.com.